An eight-year-old pony mad girl has landed a prime part in a major Hollywood film.
Lilly Aspell, 8, has been selected for a role in an upcoming superhero movie. We can’t reveal the title just yet – but we can tell you you’ll definitely have heard of it!
Part of the role involves riding, which suits Lilly down the ground. She’s been riding since she was tiny and has a very horsey background – her Dad Paddy is a professional jockey, her mum Donna competes in showjumping and eventing and has also ridden under Rules, while her uncle Leighton is a two-time Grand National winning jockey too.
But while she’s already clocked up several years in the saddle, Lilly has recently turned her attentions to acting. “Lilly has been acting for about 18 months now, and she is so passionate about both acting and riding so it's a dream come true to find a role in a movie that combines the two,” says Donna.
The auditions took nearly a year, but last month it was confirmed that Lilly had got the coveted role. “The audition process has been the most wonderful experience, albeit lengthy and hard work!” says Donna. “We’ve had frequent trips to London (which we don't mind as we can shop too!), dialect training and meetings, and we’ve already met the most wonderful people.”
Lilly didn’t have to ride during the initial audition process, but the film’s production team later spotted an image online of her showjumping with pony Tinkerbell – and they were impressed. Lilly and Donna then visited The Devil’s Horsemen stunt team a few times to meet her equine co-star – and Lilly got to have a ride on Joey from War Horse.
Filming is already underway, with the film due for release in 2017. Lilly’s scenes will be shot in the UK, Italy and the United States of America.
“It hasn't quite sunk in yet that our daughter will be on the big screen,” says Donna. “Paddy and I live by the sentiment ‘Reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground’, something we hope Lilly takes with her on this incredible journey.”
This young film star-in-the-making is still very much involved with her riding and ponies. “Like everything Lilly does, she gives her riding 100%, and after a day of movie meetings she can be found mucking out.”
Lilly loves jumping and wants to be professional showjumper in future. Her competition season is temporarily on hold while filming is completed, but on her return she hopes to affiliate her new pony Salsa.
“I’m just honoured to have a daughter with so much passion and talent.” adds Donna. “We are really excited, and looking forward to a summer of movie premieres and Pony Club camp!”